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Amnesty? Senator Schumer Chairs Comprehensive Immigration Reform Hearing Today

30 April 2009 No Comment

Senator “Chuck” Schumer (D. N.Y.) will chair a hearing on Comprehensive Immigration Reform later today, called “Can We Do It and How?” If past is prologue, with Mr. Schumer crafting immigration reform expect amnesty and a policy that may ultimately hurt America.

Why? Because Senator Schumer’s early leadership role to fix America’s immigration system arguably contributed to the broken system that afflicts America today.

Recall it was in 1986 when President Ronald Reagan signed the far-reaching and ineffective Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Schumer, the then little known Democratic congressman was singled out by the President for his critical work in negotiating a compromise for agricultural workers that gave life to this formerly dead bill.

What followed the 1986 bill’s passage was amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and a policy that failed to stop or reduce the number of illegal immigrants coming to America. Today’s wide-ranging estimates vary from 12-20 million illegal aliens.

But there’s more. As Mr. Schumer rose to be among Washington’s most prominent politicians, he along with other long-serving lawmakers’ dereliction of duty under both Democrat and Republican administrations allowed America’s immigration agency, the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service, to amass a twenty-year backlog of legal immigrant applications which made legal immigration a nifty sound-bite but a heart wrenching exercise in futility for millions of law abiding immigrants. As previously reported, these long waits, according to a Homeland Security Threat Assessment Report, encourage illegal immigration. Worse, this agency’s inefficiency put America’s national security in jeopardy as it created a pathway for crime and corruption to flourish.

But facts and perhaps unintended consequences aside, it is especially curious that Mr. Schumer with his first hand experience with failed immigration policy that included amnesty would attempt to duplicate that failure and expect a different result. Yet hearing or no hearing, amnesty is what he appears determined to push through. Last January, Mr. Schumer, for example, co-sponsored S. 9, the Stronger Economy, Stronger Borders Act of 2009. A closer look at the legislation, however, reveals that behind the tough title this bill’s true intent is to weaken America’s border with Mexico and legalize illegal aliens.

Incidentally, S. 9 is legislation that appears to work in concert with the Obama Administration’s position to look “for a path for illegal immigrants to become legal,” as described by a senior White House administration official.

In the meantime while Mr. Schumer and the Obama Administration are focused on legalizing illegal aliens, legal immigrants have been told their years stuck in backlogs are not drawing to an end. Instead according to a Visa Bulletin issued for May 2009, professional and skilled legal immigrants will remain wallowing in the USCIS’ chronic backlog.

As immigration attorney Carl Shusterman wrote: “On April 8, the State Department published the May 2009 Visa Bulletin online. Gone is the much-lamented six-year wait for green cards for professionals and skilled workers who are being sponsored by their employers. Instead, green cards are “unavailable” in this category for the next 5 months. This is the earliest that the category has become unavailable in my 33 years of practicing immigration law. Persons who have played by the rules and have pending applications for adjustment of status now have no idea when, or even if, they will qualify for permanent residence in the U.S. They live in fear of their temporary visas expiring, their children “aging out” and losing their jobs before they can secure green cards. U.S. employers are fit to be tied. At considerable expense, they obtained temporary working visas for employees filling important positions in their companies. They unsuccessfully attempted to recruit U.S. workers for job vacancies, and obtained approved PERM applications and immigrant visa petitions…Hospitals in rural and inner city locations are particularly hard hit. It is impossible to obtain temporary visas for RNs despite the growing national shortage…It is folly to think that we can guarantee healthcare coverage to all Americans as long as hundreds of thousands of nursing jobs remain vacant…. Immigrants who followed the complex immigration rules will get the following message: Never mind that you paid your taxes and never got so much as a parking ticket, that you were active in your church and that your children were straight A students, that you always maintained your legal status in the U.S. For you, the American Dream is over. Full text and more here.

Let’s hope this time Mr. Schumer, unlike his failed leadership that contributed to the economic crisis, will heed the abysmal outcome of his immigration history, by crafting policy that actually serves America’s interests and perhaps aids law abiding immigrants before illegal aliens.

To watch Senator Schumer’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform hearing scheduled at 2:00 pm ET today click here.